Saturday, October 17, 2009

Making things easier by making them harder...

...Specifically, clarinet reeds.

Acting on a Reality-Based Hunch subsequent to last night's clarinet practice, I went out and bought Myself a box of #3½ Vandoren reeds. I was previously playing on Vandoren #3's, but they just didn't feel right any more.

This is a unilateral move on My part, having not had the opportunity to consult with My instructor beforehand. It does seem to be the right move, as the stiffer reeds are forcing Me to keep a more solid airflow. The bottom B in the clarinet¹ register sounds remarkably better, and I can actually get over the break² smoothly.

This promises to be fun, and musically profitable as well.

1. The clarinet register is the higher-pitched register of the clarinet, a twelfth above the lower notes. (Low E becomes B an octave and a half above; F becomes C, and so on.)

2. The 'break' is the transition point between the chalumeau (lower) register and the clarinet register. After gradually removing one finger after another, and using less and less of the clarinet barrel, suddenly one puts down
all the fingers and uses the entire barrel to get the second-octave B natural. In My experience, this was previously extraordinarily hard to do without (a) changing the breath flow; (b) tightening up the throat; (c) flailing around and missing the "B" key; or (d) just plain panicking. ("Oh nooo! It's the breeeeeeak!" *squee* *thud* *tinkletinkletinkle*)

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